The Guild – Chapter 17 – Andrei

Kaede and I are on our way to the library again. We wander the halls, taking our time getting there and enjoying the way the sun comes through the stained-glass windowed hallways. The images not only light up with the brilliant colours stained into the glass but also cast a colourful display onto the floor and opposite wall, decorating the entire passage in a detailed visage of elemental design. This particular hall is long and has thirty windows lined up all facing the east side of the Castle, catching the morning sun. I assume this means there are thirty elemental abilities. It seems intentional, not an arbitrary selection.

We descend deeper into the castle. It seems not many people are up and about this early in the morning. It’s maybe 8:12. I’m in a good mood so I start humming a random tune by Lonely Island. I catch Kaede giving me a weird look, what has he never seen someone hum happily in the morning? I roll my eyes, ignoring his weird looks. Like he would know.

We finally arrive at the library and make ourselves at home in the back, next to the window seat. Kaede’s determined to achieve this digital library for some reason, so he’s brought his laptop down to begin coding for a website. I return to the shelf containing the books on time magic and pull them off in a large stack. I intend to thoroughly read all of them if I can. I also make sure to take the one I found with the scrawled name on the back: Ceph Stanford. I have a feeling I’ll need it for reference.

I plop myself onto the couch by the window, feet up on the cushion and elbow propped on my knee. I crack the book open and begin reading.

“Ok, something is definitely up man. What’s new?” Kaede interrupts. I look at him over the edge of the book.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“You’re different today. Yesterday you were all intense and focused. Now you’re relaxed and chipper.” His brow creases.

“I don’t know what you mean.” I brush him off looking back down at the book.

“You know exactly what I mean. Bro, you can’t hide it from me. You were singing Lonely Island on the way down. You don’t just randomly burst into that song unless… What did you do last night?”

I compose my face before revealing it over the book. I try my most normal looking stare. “Nothing. I wrote in my journal and then went to bed.”

“Fat lair!” Kaede grins. “You totally snuck into her room didn’t you!” He calls me out. For such a nerd, he’s perceptive as shit. I feel my cheeks grow hot as he stares at me, grinning.

“Fine, yes… I snuck into her room… and …”

“And she took your purity!” He finishes for me. A loud groan emits from the table where Rhoan sits watching us in his mouse form. “It makes sense now, why you’d sing that song.”

“What? I just had sex? Yes… I guess it’s a dead giveaway… now that I think of it.” I can’t believe I thought he wouldn’t figure it out. “What of it, you and Caroline seem to be waiting for the apocalypse!” I chide.

“That’s only because I believe in patience.” He snickers.

“Bull, she’s the one holding out and you know it. Maybe she’s not sure you’re the one.” I joke.

Kaede gapes soundlessly. “No. you don’t think… she has eyes on another? I knew I should have had you teach me to cook. I need more skills to keep her around.”

“No, you can cook fine. She’s the one who needs more skills for you.”

“Don’t turn this on me. So…” He leans over his laptop and smiles. “How was it?”

“I can’t tell you!” I try burying myself in the book.

I hear him set the laptop down and suddenly the book is torn out on my hands. “Yes you can, and you will.”

“I can’t believe you…” I wait, hoping he’ll drop it but he just dangles the book in front of me, like a carrot and smiles greedily.

“Just tell him, she won’t care.” Rhoan rolls his little eyes. It’s unnerving to hear his deep voice come from his mouse form.

I exhale loudly. “It was… friggin awesome man!” I smile excitedly and sit up on the edge of the couch. Kaede sits on the table and grins. “She’s more than I ever dreamed of, man.”

“You mean more than Samantha?” He teases.

“Shut up, you know Samantha was just a crush. She is nothing compared to Kaitlyn.” Nothing. Remembering Samantha leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, like sour milk. I’d rather not. Not like Kaede knows though.

“Oookay.” Kaede drawls sarcastically.

“I’m serious!” I think about last night and how she used that last request to get me to bed with her. Brilliant move, to be honest. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did. I only wish I was a bit more experienced.

“I wish Caroline would just give it up and sleep with me. We’ve been together long enough haven’t we?” The speed Kaede switches gears always surprises me.

“Totally. You should ask her again. Maybe she’ll be more willing this time.” I encourage.

“I doubt it but I’ll give it a try.” He doesn’t sound very convincing.

“So, back to work?” I try to change the subject.

“I guess.” Kaede sighs, returning to his laptop.

Rhoan chuckles, grooming himself. “Congratulations, now at least one of you is a man.”

“I’m a man! I just haven’t had the opportunity to prove it yet. My time will come, you’ll see.” Kaede grumbles.

I take the book back with a rye smile. “Do shapeshifters have a sex? I mean, can they have partners?” I ask him, actually curious.

“I can be anything I want. Of course, I can have sex with anything.” Rhoan sounds almost braggy.

Kaede and I both look up at the same time. “Anything?” Kaede asks first.

“You don’t need to repeat it, of course, you understood him the first time, idiot.” I chide sarcastically.

“Wha- That’s not normal! There’s nothing in existence that can do anything, biology dictates that. Come on, you’ve gotta remember Darwin’s theory.” Kaede the scholar comes out.

“Since when does science dictate magic?” Rhoan scoffs, annoyed.

I ignore Kaede’s remark, he knows I haven’t taken grade 12 biology yet. I haven’t finished the 11th-grade subjects, and it doesn’t look like I ever will. I crack the book open, skimming through the first chapter.

This one is called Airs of Time. From what i can tell it seems to be a book on various dignitaries and officials throughout time who were rumored to have some sort of magical background. The book goes through them in chronological order. Early on, I find a page with many scribbles on it from 100-300 AD. The Queen known as Himiko is underlined heavily and illegible notes in the margins clutter the page. The handwriting looks familiar though.

I glance at my stack of books on the table. The one I read yesterday is on the bottom. I pull it from the stack and flip to the end; there is the name written in the same pen. Is this a former student? It’s not uncommon for a student to write in library books.  Studying at the university that Caroline and Kaede attended, I saw it all the time. Of course, librarians discouraged such acts of vandalism.  

I turn back to the Airs of Time and try to decipher the writing. There’s mention of another text, a historical text, written in the Wei dynasty, China. I scratch my chin, thinking of where I might find the text. If only I had the internet…

I look at Kaede, tapping on his laptop. “Hey Kae?”

“Yeah?”

“Mind looking up a pdf version of the Record of the Three Kingdoms, 290 AD?” I ask, dog-earing the page and pulling out a notebook from my bag to take my own notes.

“Sure, no problem. Just give me …. A few…. Seconds… and …. Sent! Check your email.”

Kaede is wicked fast. He tosses me his phone, the email app already open and I open the document. I do a quick command find to locate the section I want on Himiko.

The information doesn’t seem to connect. I don’t really know why the notes referred to Himiko the Shaman Queen of Japan. I set the book aside though, in case something else is revealed, and move to the next.

The next one I pull from the stack is a useless record of clockmakers from all over Europe in the 1900’s. I put it back and take another. This one called the Sands of Time, by Gregory Atmos. An hour goes by as I read through the first few chapters. It mostly mentions the invention of timekeeping devices around the world and the evolving issues each one had. It eventually evolves into the errors made with each device and how they weren’t accurate. There’s a section underlined in a passage on hourglasses. What could possibly be accurate about an hourglass? They only keep track of an hour of time depending on the size. However, there’s a scribble in the margin, a page number.

I flip to the page number and skim the page. It’s a passage about candle clocks used in Japan around 500 AD, useless.

I go back and skim a few more pages. The scribbler underlines mention of the Sahara Desert. I purse my lips, thinking of why he – or she would underline that. The desert was full of sand, and … sand. Just sand. Sun and Sand. I go back to the first scribble. Hourglasses and sand. I don’t think I got enough sleep for this.

My stomach growls loudly, causing Kaede and Rhoan to look at me. Kaede smiles. “Time for lunch?” He shuts his laptop.

“Looks like it. I need a break anyway, these books are frying my brain.” Kaede bags his laptop and scoops Rhoan off the table. I don’t know what we’ll do after lunch so I decide to sign out a few of these books to take to my room. Once I’ve figured out the sign-out system we trudge up to the dining hall.

Kaede and I decide on the Italian sub for lunch. When our meals magically appear we grab them and spy the room. “Maybe Caroline will be here today,” Kaede says hopefully. I spy them on the right, at a table, Kaitlyn and Caroline together and someone else I don’t recognize.

“There they are,” I say, pointing.

“Ohh, look, and your new girl is there too.” Kaede snickers.

I elbow him hard, “Don’t.”

“Just a joke man. No worries. Your secret is safe with me.” Rhoan suddenly leaps from his shoulder scurrying over to Kat.

“I bet you he missed her,” I say. “Though, wouldn’t he have been faster walking with us?”

“Nope. He’s already there. Mice are fast you know. Either that or we’re just really slow humans.” Kaede chuckles and I can’t resist joining in.

“Well hello there ladies,” I say in my most charming voice. Kaede takes the seat closest to Caroline. The table only sits six, so I’m left to sit across from Kat and next to the new girl. As I set my plate down the girls snicker. I look at them, confused. “What?”

Kat shoots Caroline a look with a shush. Caroline presses her lips tight and nods.

“What?” I ask again, knowing somethings up between them.

“Well…” the new girl begins, but Caroline and Kat both glare daggers at her and she turns beet red. She mimes a key locking her mouth and throws it across the room. What the hell?

“I don’t believe we’ve met,” Kaede says, holding out a hand to the new girl. “I’m Kaede, Caroline’s boyfriend.”

“Hi, I’m Ryan. Nice to meet you. And…” She turns to me with a smile and a blush. “You must be Andrei, the time mage!” She says excitedly. Her long bangs frame her face like a painted doll. She looks really young, like younger than me.

“Yes, I am. So you guys have been talking about me?” I ask, looking at Kat.

Kaede gasps. “What?! And not me! Caroline, I’m offended! People need to know about the Warcraft mage!” He jests.

Kaitlyn laughs, “We told her a bit about both of you. She’s very curious.”

“Very,” Caroline repeats with a nod. They all giggle again and I wonder if joining them was a bad idea.

“But really! I am curious! What can a time mage do? There hasn’t been one here in hundreds of years!” She says eagerly.

“Yes… I’m becoming aware of that. Well for one, I can slow down your time, or speed up my own, I’m not exactly sure how that works. Time is perspective, right?” I raise an eyebrow to make my point.

Ryan blushes. “So you can move fast?”

“In a way, yes.”

“Is there anything else you can do?”

I look at the girls, Why haven’t they just told her? Is it such a secret that I can time jump? I look at Ryan seriously, trying to set the mood. “On the full moon, when all the people are asleep I turn into a werewolf and eat newborn babies!” I say with a spooky voice. Caroline shoots me a glare and I feel a foot kick me hard in the shin. I cringe at the pain. “Oww.” Kat snorts into her mug and starts giggling.

I look at her and notice she doesn’t have a plate. I can use this. “And where is your lunch, my dear?” I ask in my most sophisticated French accent.

“Damn it… You were supposed to distract him!” She pouts, looking at Ryan.

“Oops! Sorry!” She claps her hands over her mouth.

I narrow my eyes at her with a smile. “I’ll let you off this time. But only this time!” I say, pointing my finger at her.

“So, is there anything else, besides eating babies?” Ryan repeats.

“Yes, there is, but maybe I don’t want to say.” I sigh.“Oww!” Caroline kicks me again. I lean down and rub my shin. “You’re going to leave a bruise. Kaede how do you put up with her abusiveness?”

Kaede shrugs and slides away from her about a foot. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He looks up at the ceiling conspicuously.

“If you think that’s bad, you should see her with the water.” Kat shudders.

“I’d hardly call that abuse! I can barely tell it what to do let alone how!” She responds in defense.

“Sure…” I nod sarcastically, then snicker behind my hand. I turn to Ryan and smile. “I jump to the past.”

“Woooow! That’s so cool!” I bite into my Italian sub happily, listening to the girls chat. I always thought of it as a hindrance, other than the fact that I got to learn things from people in the past first hand. My life is all chopped up and pasted together because of this magic. How could it be of real use in today’s world? The only practical use I can think of is to confirm the events of the past in written text, but then not even all events are written about. You would only know if you jumped to every event in time and no one has enough life to live through thousands of years of history to confirm each event. So still impractical.

We finish up lunch and Caroline turns to Kaitlyn, “Hey, want to join me again this afternoon?”

Kaitlyn’s eyes grow wide and she shakes her head. “No way. He’s your problem.”

“Fine, thanks for earlier. Bye guys!” Caroline takes off for lessons.

I frown, “Why didn’t you go? What’s her teacher like?”

“He’s insane.” She yawns. That’s when I notice her cute side braid, still wet. Did she have a shower or… She must have gone to see Caroline. Haha. That should have been fun, considering her element is the complete opposite of Caroline’s.

“Oh, that reminds me, Ryan, was it?”

“Hmm, yes?”

“What’s your ability?”

She holds out her hand and a wisp of smoke appears. “I make smoke.” She says happily.

“Well, that’s pretty cool. So what should we do next?” I ask of no one in particular.

Kaede pats his laptop. “I want to continue coding for the library. Why don’t we just go back down there?”

“Umm… Kaitlyn?” Ryan squeaks, holding her hands together. “Do you think, maybe you could teach me some fire magic?”

Kay blinks, taken off guard. “I… guess I could try.”

Ryan jumps up and down on her toes. “Ohh thank you, thank you, thank you!” She shouts excitedly.

Kay looks at me and smirks, I get a sinking feeling when she gives me that look because it usually means she’s up to something. “Maybe you should try out some other magic. Who knows what else you’ll be good at.”

I nod, “Doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Does the Guild have a place for experimental practice?” I ask.

Kaitlyn laughs, “Yea, the training rooms.” I gulp, remembering the sparring match from yesterday. “Hence the name.” She winks and starts to walk away.

“Hey wait up for us!”

 

~*~

 

Kaede sits in the corner, clicking on his laptop. Kaitlyn walks to the center of the large room and sits cross-legged, waving for us to come and sit in front of her. Suddenly I feel ten years old again, sitting in front of my teacher. I shudder as I remember Mrs. Flaggorn reading us a boring story on the carpet.

“Ohh I can’t wait! This is a dream come true!” Ryan squeals. Definitely younger than me.

Kaitlyn rolls her sleeves up to her elbow, trying to get comfortable. I notice then, the thick scab that runs down nearly the full length of her forearm.

“Oh my god! What happened?!” Ryan gasps, clutching her mouth. I remember coming back from the sudden jump in Kaede’s apartment and seeing her bandaged arm while she slept. I can see why she’d let it heal on its own if it hurts as much as I remember when she healed my leg, I’d let anything heal on its own before using that magic.

“Uh, just… Blood magic. I needed to create wards.” Ryan nods, still in shock. She holds it out to me, hand in a fist, “Andrei, why don’t you try healing this?” I gulp.

“What? But, I’ve never tried healing. I don’t even know where to begin! Besides… It’ll hurt, I couldn’t.” I say, hoping she passes it off to someone with more experience.

She chuckles. “Andrei, you won’t hurt me. That’s a side effect of my fire magic.”

I frown. “Then what if time magic makes me send your arm 500 years in the past?! I don’t think we shouldn’t risk it.”

She rolls her eyes. “Just try it. You of all people could use the skill.”

“Are you saying I’m a clutz?” I raise my eyebrow in response. I already know I can be.

She smirks, “You seem to be a magnet for trouble.”

“Thanks, I guess. So, how do you start healing?” I ask. I think she put her fingers on my leg wound last time, would it be the same?

“First, you need to calm yourself. Remember how you trained under the willow? Then, when you’re calm… Well, I try to imagine the wound closing, and try to will it to happen.”

“Just… will it? Like… imagine your skin knitting together? I can see this going horribly wrong… What if I imagined your arm holding a sword and suddenly you have a sword arm?” I say. Ryan giggles next to me. I was trying to be funny, I’m happy someone’s laughing.

Kat sighs. “You and Caroline both, overthinking everything.”

“It could happen.” I shrug.

“He’s right!” Kaede calls without looking up. “Happened in a movie I watched. The man’s arm spliced with a gun and caused him excruciating pain.”

“I’ll try, but no guarantees. Just in case, would you prefer a gun arm or a sword arm?” I hear Kaede chuckle.

“I’d like my arm if it’s all the same to you.” She glares at me, trying not to smile. It’s futile though, I know I’m funny. I wink to break her composure.

She grabs my hand and touches it to her cut. “Focus!”

The scab is rough and uneven. I still can’t believe she’d use a kind of magic that would harm herself like this. That’s why it’s good to have a team, people with various abilities to help get things done. I focus on the scab, I try to imagine how deep it might be, and then I imagine it zipping up, like the videos I’ve seen of tissues coming together with sparks of energy. My fingers feel a light buzzing and I snap my eyes open to see what’s happening.

The scab lights up, a bright blue, almost white light and the scar tissue sort of dissolves. I see the skin beneath it come together uniformly. As the epidermal layer connects and the light diminishes, I barely see a mark left on her skin, it’s almost as if she’d never cut herself, to begin with.

“Woah…” Is all I can say. That impressed me. Was that even me?

“Wow! Was that really your first time?” Ryan calls. “That was amazing!” I nod, sort of dazed.

Kaitlyn grins, “See, and it didn’t even hurt.”

“Really? Nothing at all?” She shakes her head. “Well, I am a quick learner you know,” I say smugly.

She blushes, “Oh, I know.” She quickly turns to Ryan as my own face burns red. “Okay, so… fire. Andrei, you should try too.”

“What? Can you really do two elements if they’re not related? I mean, time, what does that have to do with fire?”

She shrugs. “Some people can do all sorts of magic. You never know if you don’t try.”

Ryan holds out her hands, ready to light up. I mimic her actions. Kat holds out her own hands, cupped as if she was holding water. A small fire appears seemingly out of nowhere, hovering above her skin. It flickers in her hands.

“Fire isn’t like most elements. It lives and breathes, and it has a mind of its own. Focus on the flame, and look inside yourself. If it’s there, it will let you know.” She stares at her hands. “You’ll feel it, begging to be let out.

Ryan takes a deep breath, closing her eyes. She cups her hands like Kat’s and exhales slowly. At first, only smoke rises from her hands, curling like a campfire. It becomes thicker and thicker and suddenly a tiny spark dances to life in the palm of her hand. It pops once, twice and then a little flame, like the end of a match, flickers into existence.

She opens her eyes and smiles. “Oh my god! I did it! Look, Kaitlyn! I made a fire!!”

Kat smiles proudly. “Congratulations.” She looks at me again. “Your turn.”

I gulp nervously. I don’t know what makes her think I can do this. I hardly have enough control over a time jump let alone a wild element like fire. I’m afraid I’ll burn down the training room. Is this what makes her so nervous all the time? I cup my hands, hesitantly. I remember the days under the willow tree, feeling the space around me, feeling the calm, the clicking of Kaede’s fingers, the breathing of Ryan and Kaitlyn. I tune it all out. I look inside, feeling my internal clock tic…tic…tic… I breathe in slowly, feeling the air pass into my body.

I feel a heat. A flicker. A crackle.

Fizz…

Is that fire?

Fizz…

I think it’s fire…

Fizz.

Ok, burn… a bit? Maybe?

… Fizz…

I feel a faint heat in my hands, a tiny pinprick of fire dances in my palms. It’s even smaller than Ryans. It’s sort of underwhelming.

“That’s a good start.” Kaitlyn nods encouragingly. “Don’t worry about holding back. This room is fireproof, and besides, I can handle it.”

“I don’t know if I can handle it. What if it burns my beautiful man locks?”

Ryan bursts out laughing, her fire fizzling out as she clutches her stomach.

“In case you haven’t noticed, I still have hair. It’s your clothes you should worry about.” She gives me a cheeky smirk.

I gasp mockingly and bring my elbows in, trying to hide my chest. “Oh no, I couldn’t it’d be too embarrassing. There are too many girls here.” I tuck my chin like a shy boy.

Ryan loses it and falls backward onto the floor, her focus is definitely shattered.

Kaitlyn narrows her eyes, the orange within them flickering like they too are on fire. If she wasn’t so beautiful, I might think it scary. But I can only smile back with a mischievous grin and a wink. I bet she’d love it if I burnt all my clothes off. “Why don’t you show us first,” I suggest.

She looks at the fire in her hand and back up at me with a confused expression on her face. “Show you what?” She asks.

I chuckle, “Never mind. What’s next teacher?”

She looks between Ryan and I and our hands. “Again. This time, make a real fire.” She teases.

“What? That’s wasn’t real? It was flickering and everything! How much more real can it get?”

Ryan just nods, cups her hands and tries again. She’s much faster this time. Her fire flickers into existence and grows little by little until it’s nearly the size of a plum. She tries to keep it alive while moving her hands. She’s a natural. I can tell.

I try again, hands cupped and eyes closed. I listen to the clock and then I hear the fizz. I think I find it faster.

Fizz…

Yo Fizzy fire… she wants a real fire this time.

Fizz…

Let’s show her a real fire.

Come on. I want to impress her.

Silence.

I open my eyes with a glum expression. “It doesn’t want to be a real fire,” I say.

Ryan looks at me incredulously. “What did you say to it?”

“Nothing!” I shrug, “Just, let’s make a real fire.”

She snickers, her own fire dancing a little with the hiss of her laugh. “You can’t tell it what to do,” Ryan says.

“Why not?” I pout.

“Fire doesn’t like to be controlled. It’s wild and reckless.” She muses as she lets the flame roll over the back of her hand.

“Like someone else I know…” I mumble under my breath.

She sticks her tongue out, “Exactly like someone you know.”

 

~*~

 

Training with Kaitlyn and the new girl was really fun. After a while Ryan was unable to make a flame as well, but Kaitlyn assured us it took practice like any magic did. We still made great efforts, to begin with. We relocated to the library in order to do some more research. Ryan decided to join us so she could work on a paper her own teacher had assigned her.

Kat joined me on the couch by the window again as I retrieved that book called the Airs of Time.  The scribbles next to the chapter on Himiko, the Shaman Queen of Japan, recognized by the Chinese empire was believed to be a spirit medium and a witch, using magic as a means to guide her kingdom. She also apparently feared men or something because she had thousands of female attendants and only two male ones at any time, at least that’s what was written. Being a document written well over two thousand years ago, it’s hard to know how much is truth and how much is fiction. What I do know is that the Chinese record keepers of the era were more thorough than the Japanese ones.

Papers say she was buried with a bronze mirror of sorts which was presented to her by the Chinese emperor as a gift for being in relations with him and as a coronation gift after the previous king had died. They believe the mirror to have been used in ritualistic practices. The scribbler, as I’ve decided to call the person who wrote the trail of notes I’m following, underlines the mirror and drew a line to connect it to Himiko’s name. Why would they do that? It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the mirror was hers?

In no time at all, I feel Kat shuffle, laying her head on my lap as if it were a pillow. Her eyes droop shut and soon her breathing softens and she falls asleep. Great… What if I need to move? I look at her fiery hair, braided, finally dry from her training with Caroline. It’s so beautiful.

I turn back to my notes, diligently. I want to find the reason for the underline. I read on. It feels like an hour ticks by. All I come up with is that the scribbler thinks this mirror has something to do with Himiko and her magic. But that doesn’t make sense if she was magical before she got the mirror. I try a different angle. What if she put her magic in the mirror? Why would someone do that? Is it even possible to make an object magical? I mean… as a medium, maybe that’s how people with very little power can channel magic at all.

I rub my eyes and read on, with this in mind. Kaede drops into a doze eventually. Ryan’s the only one still reading and writing notes for her paper. I feel like it’s long past dinner time, but no one seems ready to move. Kat suddenly shifts in her sleep. I look down and see her eyes flutter open.

“Good morning gorgeous,” I say with a small, tired smile.

She smiles, rubbing her eyes. “Sorry… I guess I was tired.” The red pendant catches the light of the flickering torches lighting the library. She pushes herself up, stretching her arms over her head. I try not to stare down her shirt as she does so. It’s kind of obvious from my angle.

“It’s ok,” I say. “You used a lot of fire today. Understandable. Sleep ok?” She glances around the room, I’m not really sure why, and nods. “Good.”

She absentmindedly fingers the necklace and stands up. Moving towards the gate, she mumbles, “I’ll be right back…”

I look at her puzzled. “Want someone to come with you?”

Rhoan jumps off the table, flying over as a little red bird. “I got it. Don’t worry about it.” He says as they pass through the gate and head downstairs.

I eye the gate apprehensively. Maybe I should go… I don’t know why I suddenly feel the urge to jump up and make sure she’s ok. I mean, she’s completely capable of taking care of herself… isn’t she? I mean, minus all the accidents and attacks she’s had… My heart is pounding. I gotta let her be on her own.

I tap the book nervously. Fine. I’ll read a bit longer and if she doesn’t come back I’ll go check on her. I flip through the chapter, looking for more scribbles. I see one in the margin next to an arrow pointing towards the year – 239. Hmm… There’s just not enough information. I lean back, bouncing the book on my knee. Ryan looks up at me, a questioning expression on her face.

“Stumped?” She asks.

“Yeah, a bit,” I mutter, a little annoyed.

“That happens often,” Kaede adds. “Usually when he can’t find something.”

“What are you reading?” Ryan asks.

“Stuff on time, I think.” I’m questioning it now. Airs of time seems more of a history book to me than a text on time magic.

“Ohh, self-educating?” She looks sympathetic.

“Yea, they don’t have a teacher here for me… so…” I freeze as a small static spark pinches my hand. I look at it, dubiously. I feel it again and that’s when I know it’s going to happen. I grip the book hard in my hand as the static jumps. Blue lights like little sparks jump up my arms and crawl up my spine. Ryan and Kaede freak, dumping the laptop onto the floor in surprise.

“Dude! Dude! Is this a jump?!!” He jumps excitedly.

“Not funny man. Yes it is!” I almost yell.

“Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m seeing this right now!” If he knew how dangerous this could be he wouldn’t be so excited.

“Kae, shut up.” I grit my teeth. Ryan screams, a little frightened by the display and eyes the gate sadly.

“Kae, tell Kat I’m sorry.” I close my eyes as the library vanishes and I see a bunch of robbinous lights hanging around me. I see one pulsing a little brighter than the rest. I focus my energy and I feel like this timeline is calling me. I may not have induced the jump intentionally but maybe I can still direct it like I did to get home. I grab the light and land hard, eyes shut. I’m a little scared to look. When I do take a peek, I gasp in shock, kneeling on the ground in the middle of a garden, surrounded by plants. In front of me is a wooden slatted porch on stilts and sitting atop it, dressed in a formal red and white kimono, who I can only imagine, is Queen Himiko, the Shaman Queen of Japan.

 

By Kayla West

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